Thursday, May 16, 2013

How I Met Your Mother: “One Ticket to Farhampton, Please” Wrapping up Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother.

How do you feel about the Season 8 Finale of How I Met Your Mother. I wrote somewhere a few days back that if there wasn't at least a glimpse of Ted's future wife, I would be very disappointed.   I am not disappointed.  I am as far away from disappointment as one can be.

It had become obvious over the past week or so in the show previews and in the episodes leading up to the finale that Barney and Robin's wedding wasn't going to happen this season. It also meant that HIMYM was going to be deviating from their usual timeline.  This also meant that we would not witness Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), meet the girl of his dreams this season. 

I have to admit that when I finally realized it wasn’t going to happen  I was disappointed.  If they delay the event out until the very end of Season 9, you’ll undoubtedly be on here reading about how pissed I am.  But I don’t think that’ going to happen.  Let’s hope not.  For now, all is well.

For the most part, much of Season 8 has been kind of just so-so cakes for me and didn’t really begin to find it’s way until The Time Travelers episode.  As I wrote several weeks ago, it was the first solid hint we just might meet the mysterious girl with the yellow umbrella.  Every story line since the end of that episode has been a set up for Something New.

As you’ll recall, in Romeward Bound, Lily was offered a job by The Captain to work for him in Rome for a year as an art advisor.  The Bro Mitzvah was Barney’s bachelor party which could be viewed as a throw away episode by some but not by me.   I’ll explain that momentarily.

In Something Old, Robin (Colby Smulders) was looking for a locket that she had buried in Central Park and Ted blew off an interview to help her search.  And by the end, it was obvious that Ted still hadn’t come to grips with the fact that his best friend was marrying a girl he still had strong feelings for. 

In the finale, all the plot points that happened in those episodes collided. 

When Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segal) had decided to move to Rome for a year, I surmised that before the season was over Marshall would be offered a judgeship.   He had interviewed it at the end of Episode 8, Twelve Horny Women.  Many times over the past 8 seasons, little incidents that happened at the end of certain episodes more often then not play a significant part in the season finale. Now the question is will Lily and Marshall go to Rome or will they stay in New York?  Or will Lily go to Rome while Marshall stays in New York and his mother comes to look after Marvin?  That’s a possibility, although I wouldn’t think that compromise is one that would last very long.

I have never felt that Barney and Robin could ever build a lasting relationship despite their impending marriage.  I’m not sure Barney can build a long term partnership with any woman.  But in the Bro Mitzvah, it became apparent that maybe Barney was right.  That Ted really doesn’t know Robin as well as he thinks he does.  I think Ted is so desirous of finding the right someone that he often sees Robin through rose colored glasses.   By that I mean, he see her the way he wants Robin to be, not the way she really is. 

It was Robin’s idea for the whole devious plan of making Barney’s bachelor party a complete disaster.   In Something New, the scenes between Barney and Robin trying to one up another couple, was the first time that I ever felt that this odd couple really might belong together. 

Consider this.  When Ted said that he would do anything to make Robin happy, that may be true.  Didn’t he blow off an important interview just to help her look for that locket? 

But let’s not confuse the willingness to always be there to do whatever you can to help someone you care about as being the same thing as knowing everything about that person or loving that person or even being compatible with that person.  Ted and Robin realized this years ago, in Season Three and although he now seems to regret it, it was probably the right choice for both of them.  But Robin was Ted’s first real love, and since each of his relationships since Robin have been disastrous, he’s trying desperately to recapture something that is undoubtedly gone forever.  But don’t blame Ted entirely.  Hasn’t Robin at times hinted that she was in love with Ted as well and when moments such as the one that took place in the park at the end of last week’s episode, Something Old, take place and she does little to discourage him?  The timing of these two has always been abysmal.

But I’ll go out on a limb and say that I don’t think Barney and Robin’s marriage will last if it does take place.  Despite their seeming compatibility they are also very much “me” type of people.   Everything is always more about themselves than what they can give each other.  Again we saw this last week when Barney continued to play laser tag and tuned himself out completely from Robin’s immediate needs.  And frankly, manipulation and practical jokes doe not exactly scream at me that either person will be there for the other during tough times.   And with marriage, there is always tough times ahead.  Barney is just too self-centered for a lasting relationship. 

So we didn’t get to the wedding, but how did I feel about the episode as a whole?  I loved it.  Each and every second of it.  Producers/Creators/Writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas simply outdid themselves.  I can find absolutely not one thing wrong with the finale.  In fact, it ranks up there at the top as far as season finales I’ve seen of any series.

It is easily the best finale this show has ever had, even topping last year’s wedding surprise.   From the moment Ted said “I guess I’ll take the train” and we were instantly transported to the train station and “Farhampton” was spelled out on the departure/arrival board, I began to get chills down my spine.  As we saw the young girl’s boots traveling across the train station depot, you just knew this was going to be different.  And it was.

And in those brief seconds that she appeared on camera, you knew instantly that yes, this is the kind of girl Ted would want to live his life with.  And checking the internet and checking out other videos of actress Cristin Milioti, Carter/Bays may have pulled off one helluva casting coup for the 9th and final season.  Why don’t we just skip the summer and head right into September? 

Looking ahead, there are so many questions yet to be answered.  How will Lily/Marshall resolve the Rome/Judgeship dilemma.  It’s obvious Lily really wants to go to Rome.  But if Marshall doesn’t accept the judgeship, there’s a distinct possibility he may not get another chance.  And then again, maybe he will.   My prediction:  Look for Lily to find out at the last minute about Marshall’s job offer, but it won’t be from Marshall. 

We already know that Robin and Barney get cold feet on their wedding day.  Will they ever make it to the alter?  That’s a pretty big question still left unanswered.  It could go either way.  And will it be Ted playing the part of spoiler by giving the locket to Robin?   I’ll make my prediction with the caveat that I don’t feel very strongly about it but it’s what I came up with.. 

In order to get them down the altar, Ted will do what Ted always does and make a sacrifice.  He will either give the locket to Robin and tell her that it was Barney who helped locate it, or he will just give it to Barney to give to her.  So I guess they’ll tie the knot, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

And will just meeting this girl stop Ted’s trip to Chicago?  I don’t know.  It’s still possible he could leave and come back quickly. 


Another unanswered question is that in the episode “Farhampton” that started season eight, we see Ted at the train depot with an injured hand.  Some of the speculation is that he gives the locket to Robin and then gets in a fight with Ted.  The best foreshadowing of this event came in an episode when Ted tried to give advice to Barney regarding Robin, and Barney flat out told him that he might not know Robin as well as he thinks he does.  Maybe he grows tired of Ted’s inability to move on.  All this is a possibility but I’m not buying into it.

There’s a lot to look forward to in Season 9.  The only way it could be mucked up is if Carter/Bays uses the 56 hours before the wedding and stretches it into weeks and weeks till seasons end.  I hope they put that rumor to rest real quick.

I would hope that once Ted and the mother finally meet, that we get to be with them as their relationship grows and is resolved to its inevitable conclusion to end the series with perhaps a flash forward to the future to fill us quickly in on what happened in the ensuing years.  I mean, just because he meets the mother doesn’t mean the path to lifelong happiness with her will be an easy one.   Reading some prognostications elsewhere, has everybody already forgotten that The Mother already has a live in boyfriend?   See there.  With this show, small details are always important.

What I read on one site is that they may just go back and begin telling the story from the mother’s viewpoint.  I think that would be a huge mistake and at this stage very unnecessary.  But the foundation has been laid for what could turn out to be one of the greatest final seasons of any series.  The rest is up to Carter and Bays.  Is it September yet?   


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